With an endless selection of honkytonks, bars, and various nightlife activities, it’s easy to see why Nashville has a reputation for being a big party town.
Finding options for good, clean, family fun can pose a challenge here, but with a little research, you can be sure to find a wide variety of exciting activities right here in Nashville that the whole family can enjoy on your next family vacation.
For your convenience, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the research for you and your family and organized it into three categories, following our top five picks:
- Ideas For Families With Young Children
- Ideas For Families With Teenagers
- Ideas For Families With A Variety Of Ages
Our Top 5 Picks For Family Vacation Ideas
1. Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort. Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort is a thrilling water park and recreational area located on the shores of Percy Priest Lake. It offers a wide range of water attractions, including water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, sandy beaches, picnic areas, and camping facilities.
2. OZ Arts. OZ Arts is a contemporary arts center in Nashville that showcases innovative and diverse artistic performances and exhibitions, including visual arts, music, dance, and theater offering a perfect mix of engaging exhibits and performances, while still maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere.
3. General Jackson Showboat. This grand paddlewheel riverboat features live musical shows where families can enjoy a delicious meal while cruising along the Cumberland River, making it a perfect family-friendly outing combining music, history, and good food.
4. The Country Music Hall of Fame. Located in the heart of Nashville, this iconic museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts, memorabilia, instruments, and exhibits dedicated to the genre's most influential artists and historic moments in country music. Families can explore the interactive displays and learn about the impact of country music on American culture.
5. Bell Meade Historic Site. Take a guided tour at Bell Meade Historic Site and delve into the history of Nashville, the Civil War, and the role of agriculture in shaping the region. After the tour, adults can also take advantage of the on-site winery, while the rest of the family can enjoy the outdoor seating area.
Ideas For Families With Young Children
Make a stop at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere has a multitude of animal exhibits including reptiles, mammals, birds, and insects.
But an intimate look at the world's most fascinating creatures isn’t the only thing that Nashville’s zoo has to offer; you can also take advantage of their on-site amusement park, catch a film in their movie theatre, let the kids run loose on their climbing gym and zipline park, and take an informative tour of the historic plantation where the zoo now sits.
See the exhibits at the Adventure Science Center
The Adventure Science Center is a must-see on a family vacation to Nashville. Here, you can see a variety of immersive science-oriented exhibits detailing the wonders of the human body, matter, our solar system, sound, light, matter, nanotechnology and so much more.
While the exhibits are geared toward younger children, there is something for everyone to learn and enjoy. The Adventure Science Center is open daily, and hours of operation run late on most days.
Make your own candy at the Goo-Goo Hands-On Chocolate Workshop
Goo-Goo Clusters are born and bred here in Nashville, and you can access the factory right downtown for a variety of fun, hands-on experiences. The Goo-Goo Hands-On Workshop is a kids-oriented candy-making workshop that includes candy tasting and a take-home apron.
This is one of Nashville’s most popular workshops, and Goo-Goo Chocolate suggests that you book at least 60 days in advance. This workshop is offered on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Pet some farm animals at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum
If you’ve got little ones who have an interest in agriculture, the Tennessee Agricultural Museum is a perfect stop on your family vacation to Nashville.
There are regularly scheduled events all year long including petting zoos, heirloom veggie tastings, puppet shows, and exhibits that take you through the history and science of agriculture in Tennessee. The museum is open weekdays from 9:00 to 4:00.
See a show at Nashville Children's Theatre
While nearly every sizable city in the US has a children’s theatre, the Nashville Children’s Theatre is the country’s oldest continually running youth performing arts center.
Here you can find a variety of regularly scheduled shows, including some of the world’s most well-known acts, as well as local up-and-coming performers performing anything from classic tales to contemporary stories.
In addition to the performances, there are also regularly scheduled educational workshops should your kids catch the acting bug themselves.
Hit the lanes at Franklin Family Entertainment Center
Franklin Family Entertainment Center is the area's premiere bowling alley and arcade. While it’s likely not the first stop on your family vacation, it can serve as a great activity if you’re looking for something fun to do in between destinations.
The Franklin Family Entertainment Center features fun music with light shows, a full menu snack bar, a massive arcade with all of the classic games as well as a long list of discount deals.
Make your own pottery at Brushfire Pottery Studio
For budding artists and potters, Brushfire Pottery Studio is a great stop on your next family vacation to Nashville. It’s as simple as selecting a few raw clay pieces from hundreds of designs, selecting your glaze, and sitting down to decorate it together!
Finally, the crew will fire it up for you to take home creating the perfect family activity resulting in your own crafted souvenir from your trip. The studio also hosts a number of events including puppet shows and story times, so be sure to check out the calendar.
Ideas For Families With Teenagers
Tee off at Top Golf
While there are plenty of options for younger kids at Top Golf, teens are likely to get the most out of the experience. Top Golf is essentially an indoor golf range (though there are a few outdoor options) that combines virtual technology for scoring.
You won’t need a caddy, equipment, or a golf cart, just yourselves! Should you work up an appetite, Top Golf also has a full restaurant and bar so there’s no reason to leave and refuel.
Test your aim at Bad Axe Throwing
Bad Axe Throwing offers a thrilling and unconventional experience that's as exhilarating as it is unique. They offer ax throwing lanes for kids as young as ten, and it's the perfect place where teens and their families can channel their inner Viking and try their hand at the age-old art of axe throwing.
Under the guidance of expert coaches, participants learn the techniques needed to hit the target with precision, all while enjoying a social and competitive atmosphere. Additionally, Bad Axe Throwing also offers a full food and beverage menu.
Solve a mystery together at The Escape Game
While escape rooms exist all over the country, you’ve never seen escape rooms like the ones at The Escape Game. They feature over thirty different themed rooms for teens and their families to try and unlock by cracking codes, solving puzzles, and finding all the necessary clues before the time’s up.
There are several locations all over the Nashville area, including one located right downtown, so you can fit more activities into the rest of your day once you’ve escaped!
Tour the Johnny Cash Museum
Nashville is a major epicenter for country music history, and Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic figures within the country music genre.
Apart from the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum is possibly the most recognizable downtown Nashville institution and one of the most highly-regarded music museums in the world. Teens with an interest in country music will surely not want to miss this stop on a family vacation to Nashville.
Nashville Paintball Inc.
For an adrenaline-packed day, head to Nashville Paintball Inc. Teens and families can engage in exhilarating paintball battles set in themed arenas, while strategizing, communicating, and working together to outwit opponents and achieve victory.
This high-energy activity promotes teamwork, decision-making, and friendly competition in a safe environment.
Whether your teen is a first-timer or a seasoned player, the thrill of paintball ensures an unforgettable option while on your family vacation. Nashville Paintball, Inc. has all of the necessary equipment for a day of fun, so no need to bring anything other than a comfortable pair of clothes.
Kayak the Cumberland River
Experience the natural beauty of Nashville by kayaking the Cumberland River. Teens and families can paddle along the tranquil waters, taking in stunning views of the city and surrounding landscapes.
This outdoor adventure offers a chance to connect with nature, get some exercise, and enjoy quality time together.
Whether you decide to bring your own kayaks or go with a guided group, such as River Queen Voyages, kayaking the Cumberland River provides a refreshing escape from urban life and a unique perspective of Nashville's breathtaking skyline.
See a show on Broadway
You’ve heard of Broadway in New York City, but if you’ve never been to Nashville, Broadway is one of the first stops you need to plan on your family vacation. Broadway, also known as the Honkytonk Highway, is the vital artery of Nashville’s music scene.
While live music exists on nearly every street in Nashville, Broadways hosts a large collection of iconic Nashville bars, music venues, and honkytonks that provide the perfect authentic Music City experience.
You may be thinking “How can I get my teen into a honkytonk to see the music?” – Generally speaking, most bars and honkytonks allow minors before 10:00 p.m., so your family can be free to check out the scene before it gets too wild.
Test your aim at Royal Shooting Range
For families interested in recreational shooting during their family vacation to Nashville, the Royal Shooting Range provides a safe and supervised environment. Teens, under the guidance of their families, can learn about firearm safety, marksmanship, and responsible shooting practices. This educational experience promotes discipline, focus, and respect for firearms.
Whether your teen is a novice or an experienced shooter, the range offers a controlled setting to enhance skills while emphasizing the importance of safety. No need to bring your own artillery–Royal Shooting Range provides a wide range of riffles to choose from in their rental booth.
Build your own guitar at Gibson Garage
Immerse yourselves in the world of music and craftsmanship at the Gibson Garage, located right downtown. Teens and families can explore the legacy of Gibson guitars through interactive exhibits, workshops, and demonstrations. Gain insights into the art of guitar-making, its history, and its impact on popular music.
Teens can even try their hand at making their own Gibson guitar through the custom shop. This engaging and educational experience celebrates music, culture, and the craftsmanship behind some of the world's most iconic instruments.
Ideas For Families With A Variety Of Ages
Go for the gold at K1 Speed
Fuel your family vacation with high-speed excitement at K1 Speed, Nashville’s go-kart sppedway. This thrilling destination caters to families with kids of all ages, offering an adrenaline-pumping experience through go-kart racing.
Younger children can partake in the Junior Karts, while teenagers and adults can embrace the speed in more powerful vehicles. The well-maintained tracks and safety protocols ensure a secure environment for everyone. If you need to refuel your stomachs, there is a full restaurant and bar available on-site.
Embark on an outdoor adventure at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
On your next vacation to Nashville, consider taking your family to the enchanting world of Cheekwood Estate and Garden.
Just outside of downtown Nashville, this destination is perfectly suited for families with kids of all ages. The sprawling gardens come alive with vibrant colors, sculptural art installations, and themed events. Families can explore at their own pace, making pit stops for picnics, storytelling, and artistic exploration.
Cheekwood provides not only a visually stunning experience but also a range of workshops and interactive activities. From art classes to seasonal celebrations, every visit is a chance for kids to engage with their surroundings in a meaningful way. The historic mansion adds a touch of grandeur and educational insights, making it an ideal family outing that combines nature, art, and culture.
Get some air at Adventureworks Zipline Park
A popular family activitiy in the Nashville area is ziplining. Nashville is surrounded by lush forests and tall trees and one of the best ways to explore these breathtaking natural areas is through ziplining.
Kids of all ages can enjoy thrilling speed while also getting a healthy dose of outdoor time. While there are many popular zipline companies in the area, Adventureworks Zipline Park is a great option for families looking to take advantage of the great outdoors.
Go on a fishing expedition to Percy Preist Lake
Another great outdoor activity for families on vacation in Nashville is the age old classic fishing expedition. Pack a cooler with lunch and your favorite beverages, and teach the kids how to bait a line, and the value of quiet patience.
While there are many options for fishing around Nashville, it’s hard to beat Percy Priest Lake, which is well-stocked with many varieties of fish in clean, clear water. It’s also a great place to take advantage of water sports such as jetskiing, swimming, or canoeing.
Check out the exhibits at the Tennessee State Museum
From prehistoric artifacts to modern-day innovations, the Tennessee State Museum offers insights into Tennessee's past, present, and future, and the interworkings of Tennessee State Government. Kids can engage in hands-on activities, while teenagers can delve into more complex historical narratives.
Through interactive displays and engaging storytelling, families embark on an educational alternative to some of the more popular family vacation activities. Best of all, a visit to the Tennessee State Museum is 100% free!
Break a sweat at Centennial Sportsplex
For sports-oriented families, there isn’t really a better place to stop on your family vacation than Centennial Sportsplex.
Here you can find a variety of indoor sports facilities such as an iceskating rink, and olympic-sized swimming pool, and a running track. No matter the time of year your vacation to Nashville takes place, this is the perfect spot to get in a good workout while also having some fun.
Get breakfast at Pfunky Griddle
Pfunky Griddle is a unique breakfast joint with a twist. They serve up all of your favorite breakfast favorites such as bacon, biscuits, and eggs, while offering a separate menu with items you can make yourself on the dining table’s center flatop griddle.
These menu items include hashbrowns, pancakes, and omelettes with a wide assortment of delicious toppings. While it’s not likely to be the main attraction of your family vacation to Nashville, it can serve as the perfect combination of fun and delicious food in between activities.
Get your game on at Game Terminal
While it’s considered a barcade, Game Terminal a perfectly fine environment to bring kids of all ages during daytime hours.
Adults have access to a full bar while kids can enjoy one of the widest assortment of pinball machines, ping pong, lawn games, and arcade games that the city has to offer. They also offer a full menu full of delicious bites including nachos, salads, and sandwiches.
Go Camping at Montgomery Bell State Park
What could be morememorable than a family vacation roughing it in the great outdoors in Montgomery Bell State Park, just a short drive from downtown Nashville? You can catch breathtaking views of wildlife, foliage, and natural waterways while roasting marshmallows over an open fire and enjoying the fresh air.
Take a cooking class at Flour Power
Kids with an interest in cooking and baking will love Flour Power! They offer a variety of weekly and one-time events for kids, adults, teens, and a mix of all three to concoct all kinds of wonderful dishes such as homemade pasta, pastries, desserts, and so much more, while also learning valuable kitchen etiquette and skills.
Drop off the kids for Kids Night Out while relaxing at the hotel, or attend a class together as a family!